Time is a fickle thing.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

Harvey MacKay

When I was in elementary, I wanted to be a doctor because my parents told me that that was what I was going to be, and because a lot of my friends were thinking of the same thing as well – to be what our parents were. I was not sure about it, but I wasn’t really worried. I still had time.

When I was in high school, I thought of being a scientist because that was what the system was grooming us to be – future leaders and innovators in the field of Philippine science, technology, and engineering. I thought going into uni would clear my head. Still, I wasn’t really worried. I still had time.

When I went to college, I was confused. Part of me wanted to use my degree in molecular biology to figure out things that nobody knew before. I was inspired by my professors, who were all graduates of great universities abroad. I wanted to be just like them. Another part of me still wanted to be a clinician. One who could help heal the lives of many Filipinos. One who could change the health system. I did not know which one I wanted to be, and out of all the problems I had, there was one constantly running through my head – I was running out of time.

I considered taking a year off to take some time to decide what I was going to do with my life, but eventually decided against it. I decided to go into medicine when I realized that the lab life was not for me (don’t get me wrong – it was not something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life, but it was something that was still close to my heart). But still, it was not an easy decision. I was debating if medicine was something that I was really passionate about, or if it was a path I was choosing because it was the one laid out for me by my family. Was it what was expected of me? Did I really want to be a doctor? I still don’t know. But I didn’t have enough time to figure it out. So I took a leap and went through with going to med school.

Now I am in med school and I feel like I’m finally out of time. I don’t know if I can finish this journey the way I am right now – knowing so little of myself. It’s only the first month and I know that I’ll be struggling soon. Five more years of this and I don’t know if I’ll still be entirely sane by then. But definitely, thinking of the payoff makes it worth it. Still not sure if this is what I’m meant to do, but still –here’s to committing myself to 5++ more years of this madness!


Author: Tracey Yap

Rantings of a raving med student

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